Nababeep, Northern Cape: The Copper 360 (Altx CPR) School of Mining debuted its first set of courses on 11 September at its Concordia operation in the Northern Cape. The company announced the development of the training facility in August.
The school will launch with seven courses: Basic Surface Geology, Sampling, Ore Body Technician, Mineral Resource Management, Drone Technology, Introduction to Mining Law and Urban Design for Mining Communities. Thirty students were accepted at its first intake for the series of unaccredited courses including women and persons with disabilities.
“The initial course offering will focus on developing practical knowledge for students,” said Copper 360 executive director Quinton Adams, who heads up the firm’s community engagement arm. “Skills development will initially be based on the needs of the company, whereafter, as the school grows, a wider net will be cast.”
The courses were developed in-house, and the company has sourced experienced geologists and other mining professionals to contribute to and present the material. A further three hundred staff members have enrolled in an extended apprenticeship programme that will be simultaneously rolled out. Personnel will also enjoy access to School of Mining courses.
The Northern Cape, with its mostly untapped natural resources, will be the next mineral province and economic driver of the country, said Adams. But unemployment is at near sixty percent in some areas and poverty widespread.
Copper, nickel, manganese, and other minerals have attracted significant interest in the province’s reserves, but joblessness remains high.
“Structural unemployment poses a substantial challenge in the province and, for its citizens to enjoy the opportunities that are likely to come, education must be at the top of any line-item agenda,” said Adams.
Addressing structural unemployment, in other words the gap between the skills that a population holds, and the opportunities the labour market offers, presents a challenge. “The workforce is there, but it is not employment ready. In anticipation of growth in the resource sector, the School of Mining is in place to mend this chasm,” Adams shared.
While the school’s first courses are unaccredited and Copper 360 needs-based, Adams noted that accredited courses as well as diploma and degree fields of study are on the near-term horizon, including an association with the Camborne School of Mines in the United Kingdom.
Adams said that he expects the School of Mining to contribute substantially to the nurturing of human capital as the minerals boom takes shape in the province.